Alterraun Verner got the first interception off Jameis Winston during the Bucs fourth camp practice Sunday, and a series later Daryl Smith added the first for the linebacker column. Vincent Jackson tipped a short pass over the middle in the air during 11-on-11s and the veteran was there to make the play for the defense.
“We got some good pressure up front,” Smith said after practice, suggesting Winston had to rush the decision. “I don’t know who tipped the ball – all I know is I turned around and the ball was there.”
Being in the right place at the right time tends to happen when you have 172 starts under your belt and are returning to a familiar defense. Smith, entering his 13th season and coming off three consecutive 100-plus tackle-seasons in Baltimore, played his first four years under then-Jacksonville defensive coordinator Mike Smith. At the time, Dirk Koetter was also on the Jaguars staff as offensive coordinator.
Daryl Smith said he could have predicted both guys would become head coaches one day. “No doubt. (They are) great minds and they really hammer details. And a lot of this is about the small details.
“That was a bonus coming back down here with these guys, being familiar with the system. (Smith) has a lot of new stuff now, too, but the base of (the defense) is still pretty much the same.”
As such, Smith is also serving as a sounding board for fellow linebackers Lavonte David and Kwon Alexander. Their desire to learn, Smith said, is a promising sign for the Bucs young defense.
“They have a lot of questions,” he said of David and Alexander. “That was one of the things that I was real pleased about when I got here – just a lot of guys who are ready to learn; they’re eager. They ask so many questions. And you see that not just from (the linebacker) room, but DBs, D-Line … Guys are eager to work and eager to learn and that’s a good thing.”
Asked what he can add to the Bucs defense in 2016, Smith said, “leadership” and “whatever they need from me.” In his last three seasons Smith hasn’t missed a start, recording nine sacks, five interceptions, two forced fumbles and 29 deflections to accompany 372 tackles during that span. Per Scott Smith of Buccaneers.com, Daryl Smith has the sixth most tackles in the NFL since 2004 and is one of just four players in history to have 500 tackles, 25 sacks, 10 interceptions and 10 forced fumbles over the course of 12 seasons.
Zach is entering his 3rd year covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a writer for PewterReport.com. Since 2014, he's handled a large part of the beat reporting responsibilities at PR, attending all media gatherings and publishing and promoting content daily. Zach is a native of Sarasota, FL, and a graduate of the University of Tampa. He has also covered high school football for the Tampa Tribune and the NFL for Pro Player Insiders.
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